Capturing the Place
As a native of Michigan and owner of a vacation home Up North, I was very pleased to read and relive what summers in Northern Michigan are all about (“Destination: Northern Michigan,” June/July).

The writers did a great job of covering all the major areas as well as capturing the essence of a summer — casual lifestyle, lots of activities and breathtaking views of the lakes.

Elizabeth DeLage, President
Arlington Business Solutions

Success Through Regionalism
For years, discussions around regional cooperation among local governments have advanced and retreated with shifting political winds. The current economic reality is finally forcing the issue back to the forefront of public policy debate.

Local governments are strapped for cash. Forced, unpaid furloughs, layoffs and service cuts are impacting every level of government. The time is ripe for a major change in the way our tax dollars are put to work. Our challenge is to do more with less.

There are scores of separate political subdivisions in Hamilton County alone. Inefficiency and waste are inevitable by-products of all those bureaucracies. Most of those political subdivisions have their own accounting, human resources, payroll, information technology and administrative departments.

The benefits of effective shared service delivery and governmental cooperation go far beyond just improving the budget landscape and protecting government jobs. Service delivery cooperation will lead to a shared sense of purpose and the development and implementation of a shared regional agenda. That shared agenda will help us align regional assets so we can be more competitive in attracting investment to our community.

We are beginning to move the needle. The Government Cooperation and Efficiency Project led by the Center for Local Government and the Hamilton County Planning Partnership has made great strides in the last few years. The Greater Cincinnati Chamber of Commerce has made shared services a centerpiece of their Agenda 360 plan. But we are still facing the challenges of outdated thinking, protectionist attitudes, and political and ideological entrenchment. It is time to acknowledge that we are in partnership with our neighbors, not in competition with them.

Chris Bortz
Cincinnati City Council

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